Beowulf: Epic Hero, Tragic Hero, Romantic Hero, or Anti-Hero?



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AP Literature and Composition Palmer

Beowulf Persuasive/Analytical Essay
Beowulf: Epic Hero, Tragic Hero, Romantic Hero, or Anti-Hero?
Although most would consider Beowulf to be an archetypal Epic Hero, debates have been raised about the true heroic nature of Beowulf in every one of the situations in which he is faced. Is he primarily a true and noble epic hero, an obsessed with glory, hubris-filled tragic hero, an introspective and moody romantic hero, or a flawed, disturbed, and selfish anti-hero? Use your hero notes, the text, and the text of the hero songs to support your ideas. If you choose tragic hero, you must discuss Beowulf’s tragic flaw: what it is and how it lead to his downfall. A flaw should also be mentioned if you choose anti-hero, but it must be a flaw that shows a much deeper deficiency in his character.
The basic prompt is: Using the language of the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf and the lyrics from one of the Hero Songs we’ve studied, formulate an argument that answers the question of which kind of hero best represents Beowulf in the episode of the epic poem you’ve chosen to analyze. Your thesis will be a provable statement that answers the question, mentioning the episode and the traits you will use to prove Beowulf is that kind of hero.
The essay’s analysis should include a discussion of the figurative language/literary devices (metaphor, simile, personification, allusion, alliteration, kenning, patronymic, hyperbole, etc.) and imagery both Heaney and the writer of the hero song (writers are mentioned at the bottom of the lyric) use to describe the kind of hero you are proving Beowulf to be. You should also use persuasive language to convince me that your analysis of Beowulf is strong. You do not need to use ALL the literary devices – focus on the devices in the language you choose to prove your analysis.
Each body paragraph should contain two quotes to back up your analysis. One quote should be from Heaney’s translation of Beowulf and one should be from your chosen Hero Song. Cite quotes with MLA style format. Use the author’s name and page or line number. (Page numbers for Heaney, line numbers for the lyrics).
Essay will be typed, double-spaced, as long as it needs to be to fully analyze your character, (about 2-1/2 to 3 pages is standard), MLA format for citation and headings, needs a title. Will be graded using the Jones College Prep rubric for 11th and 12th grade Literary Analysis essays. DUE WED., DECEMBER 16.


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